Cross- vs. within-racial judgments of attractiveness

Ira H. Bernstein, Tsai Ding Lin, Pamela McClellan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Subjects from two pairs of ethnic groups (Chinese and White in Experiment 1, Black and White in Experiment 2) judged the attractiveness of faces in yearbook pictures of persons that belonged to their own or to the other ethnic group. This was to see whether: (1) a given group would perceive more variation in the attractiveness of faces belonging to its own vs. the other ethnic group, as suggested by the cross-racial literature, for example, Malpass and Kravitz (1969), and (2) the two groups would use the same or different rules to define attractiveness. There were essentially no differences in perceived variation for cross- vs. within-racial judgments, but there were differences in the criteria used to define attractiveness. As expected, Black and White aesthetic criteria were more like one another than were Chinese and White criteria. Discussion centered around reconciling these findings with the recognition literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-503
Number of pages9
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)


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